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CONTENT BUDAPEST NEWS: Three Ukrainian docs picked by int’l experts for next stage of UCC

The UCC Documentary Pitch panel L-R: Victoria Yarmoshchuk, Ivan Bukreev, Olena Sikan, Elisabeth Hagstedt, David Cornwall and C21’s David Jenkinson

CONTENT BUDAPEST: Three Ukrainian documentary projects have been chosen by a panel of industry experts to move on to the next stage of their development as part of The Ukraine Content Club (UCC) Documentary Pitch.

The projects, Russian Warship F*ck You! Decisive Battle (1+1 Media), Risen From The Ashes (Film.UA Group) and Wedding During the War (Suspline Ukraine), will now be presented to potential coproduction and financing partners via The Ukraine Content Club Documentary Pitch, in partnership with C21.

The international expert board that chose the three from the six to go through to the financing round included Nat Geo’s Benjamin Noot, Dogwoof’s Yung Kha, All3Media’s Rachel Job, ZDF’s Kristina Hollstein, Warner Bros Discovery’s Steven Fullagar, ITV Studios’ Cecille Olsen, consultant Dan Salerno, Happy Accident’s Holly Hines, TF1’s Elisabeth Hagstedt and Scorpion TV’s David Cornwall.

Both Hagstedt, head content and broadcast at France’s TF1, and David Cornwall, MD at Scorpion TV in the UK, are here at C21’s Content Budapest this week to discuss the titles and meet with key players from Central and Eastern Europe at the three-day event.

Speaking on the UCC Documentary Pitch panel at Content Budapest today, Hagstedt and Cornwall praised all six projects but singled out Russian Warship F*ck You! Decisive Battle, Risen From The Ashes and Wedding During the War in particular.

Ivan Bukree, head of content at 1+1 Media, said two-part doc Russian Warship F*ck You! Decisive Battle would spotlight the Ukrainian heroes who famously defended Zmiinyi Island (Snake Island) from Russian invaders, as well as other ordinary people who resisted elsewhere in Ukraine.

Victoria Yarmoshchuk, CEO at Film.UA Group, said Risen From The Ashes would use modern technology to show how cities are rebuilt following the destructive impact of war and draw links between the European locations affected by the Second World War and the Ukrainian cities being attacked by Russia.

Discussing Wedding During the War, Olena Sikan, head of content sales and acquisitions at Suspilne, would highlight the fact more than 40,000 marriages have been registered in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion by Russia began and tell heart breaking but uplifting love stories.

Hagstedt said Russian Warship F*ck You! Decisive Battle showed the huge impact individual people could have during wartime and that Risen From The Ashes was a “beautiful concept,” while Cornwall said he could see the “really charming” Wedding During the War working on female-skewing channels worldwide.

The UCC Documentary Pitch is an initiative to connect new factual programming from Ukraine with international partners, showcasing new projects in development with leading producers in the country.

The other projects – The Evil Empire (1+1 Media), The Imaginary Worlds of Stanislav Lem (Film.UA Group) and For Life (Suspline Ukraine) – remain available to review by any potential coproduction partner.

The UCC, set up last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, aims to develop, finance, produce and distribute high-end Ukrainian drama and documentary series with the help of international partners.

In this model, broadcasters, financiers, production and distribution companies can contribute to a package of series proposed by leading Ukrainian producers. In exchange, contributors will receive projects to carry on their platforms or channels.

The process and results of the initiative will culminate in a panel at Content London 2023 in November.

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